Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2008. © 2008 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Stating "I grow weary knowing about the yearly increase in appropriations for research on the care and feeding of livestock knowing that we appropriate nothing for research on the care and nurture of children," Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon in 1921 convinced the Kansas Legislature to pass a statute forming the Bureau of Child Research (BCR). From that beginning grew one of the most remarkable research centers in the United States focusing on children with mental retardation. Doing Science and Doing Good tells the story of how a small group of visionary researchers and administrators at the University of Kansas and Parsons State Hospital and Training Center were funded in 1957 to teach language and communication skills to children with mental retardation (considered impossible by nearly everyone at that time), and then went on to create an internationally known center that has improved the lives of thousands of children and families in Kansas and across the nation.